The leading professional banking qualification is to be given Manchester University degree status in a move which could lead to the decline of rival banking courses.
The associateship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, which has been the primary qualification for the banking industry for more than 100 years, is to be validated as a Manchester University degree at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.
The deal promises to increase dramatically the number of UMIST graduates, since around 25,000 take the associateship exams every year. Almost all will do the degree by distance learning.
UMIST beat off 26 other universities, including three shortlisted institutions with strong banking courses: City, Loughborough and the Open University.
The deal will give the university, whose new qualification will be an honours degree in financial services, a head start in the race for students because it will also carry associateship status. This remains the gateway to the higher echelons of banking management.
Gavin Shreeve, chief executive of the CIB, said there will be "a generous exemption policy" for degree holders from other universities, but "they would have to take some additional exams".